This is the BEST lentil soup ever, made in 1 pot with budget friendly ingredients. Naturally thick, satisfying and filling! Perfect with some fresh crusty bread for dipping.

close up of a bowl of soup

This lentil soup is anything but bland. It’s FULL of flavor between the spices, fresh vegetables and even a squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

One thing I absolutely love about colder weather is enjoying a warm bowl of soup, perhaps with a cozy sweater while watching the leaves change outside. But I honestly enjoy soup all year long. I love how I can make a big pot of soup and have leftovers for several days, or even freeze some for a rainy day.

A few of my other favorite soup recipes include Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup and Vegan Potato Soup.

You’ll want to make this lentil soup all year long! It’s:

  • Budget friendly, made with inexpensive ingredients
  • Satisfying, filling and full of protein
  • Filled with greens
  • Kid-friendly
  • & SO easy to make!

big pot of lentil soup with spinach

Ingredients needed

  • Olive oil – for sautéing the vegetables, may omit or use vegetable broth for oil free.
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Crushed or diced tomatoes – I usually use diced tomatoes, but you can use crushed if you don’t like having chunks of tomatoes in your soup.
  • Green/brown lentils – I wouldn’t use red here, as they sort of melt into the soup.
  • Vegetable broth – I almost always use Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base. It has great flavor and is so easy to store.
  • Spices – Cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, salt.
  • Baby spinach – You can substitute kale, if desired.
  • Lemon juice – Don’t skip this, it really takes the soup to the next level!

What kind of lentils should I use?

Use either green or brown lentils for this soup. Both work well; they hold their shape while thickening the soup. You could even use black lentils, but your soup will be a lot less thick. So go for green or brown!

Red lentils are wonderful in many dishes, but not this soup. They are very soft and mushy once cooked, and in this soup we really want the lentils to hold their shape. I love using red lentils in marinara when I want to add nutrition and protein without changing the consistency very much, like in The Best Vegan Lasagna. I also use red lentils in Cauliflower Sweet Potato Curry Soup and Red Lentil Lemon Soup.

bowl of lentils, dry

How do you make lentil soup?

This is a very simple recipe to make.

First, in a large soup pot, cook the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in a bit of olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.

pot with onion, carrot and celery

Next, add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the spinach and lemon juice. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the soup is thickened and the lentils are tender.

Use an immersion blender and blend a few times right in the pot to make the soup creamy. Alternatively, you could add a few cups of soup to a blender, blend until smooth then add back to the pot.

immersion blender in pot with soup

Finally, stir in the spinach, lemon juice and season with salt to taste. If you want to use kale instead of spinach, give it about 10 minutes to simmer in the soup.

Enjoy with some fresh, crusty bread if desired or even with some brown rice.

spinach being added to lentil soup

Tips for success

  • Blend a little of the soup to make it creamy, with no cream needed!
  • Use brown or green lentils, NOT red.
  • Don’t skip the lemon juice, it really brings out the flavors of the soup.
  • Switch up the veggies based on what you have, such as green peas, a potato/sweet potato, broccoli or cauliflower.

Leftovers and freezing

This soup recipe makes quite a bit, so consider freezing your leftovers if you don’t think you will eat it within 5 days. You can freeze it in individual containers for quick, easy meals in the future! Or freeze half of the soup in a large container or large freezer bag.

Warm leftover soup in the microwave or a pot on the stove. Perfect for healthy meal prep!

ladle holding soup from pot

More amazing vegan soup recipes

two bowls of lentil soup with lemons on white background

square image of a bowl of soup with a spoon in it

The Best Lentil Soup

This is the BEST lentil soup ever, made in 1 pot with budget friendly ingredients. Naturally thick, satisfying and filling! Perfect with some fresh crusty bread for dipping.
5 from 45 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 14- ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry green or brown lentils
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 cups baby spinach, sliced into ribbons, or kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Now add the can of tomatoes (with juices), lentils, vegetable broth, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Stir to incorporate everything.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to blend a few times in the pot. Alternatively, add 1-2 cups of the soup to a regular blender, blend until smooth and then return to the pot.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. It will only take a minute for the spinach to wilt. Season with salt to taste.

Notes

  1. For a thinner soup, simply add more water or vegetable broth until the desired consistency is reached. 
  2. Leftover soup will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  3. This soup freezes well. Either freeze in individual containers or a large container for quick future meals.
  4. May substitute kale for the spinach, but you will need to cook the kale in the soup about 10 more minutes to get it tender. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 236kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 610mg, Potassium: 743mg, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 4333IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 5mg

*This recipe was first published in November 2018 and has been reposted with improved photos and writing.

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